Imagine being sent to prison for leaving your home without your husband's permission, refusing to marry your rapist or running away from an abusive husband with your child, then being sent to prison for kidnapping—with your child.
Today, the US State Department confirms 920 women, 760 girls between the age of 12 and 17, and 291 children are currently behind bars in Afghanistan. 95% are convicted of "moral crimes."
In Afghanistan, an ancient code of Islamic honor called Shuria, proclaims any two men can accuse a woman of a crime. Case closed. No burden of proof or defense. A group of male elders, the local jirga, serves as jury and judge. The accused and her children are unquestionably shamed by the entire community and sentenced to prison—or death.
The fall of the Taliban initiated new political, legal and educational freedoms for women in Afghanistan, but centuries of patrilineal tradition can't be eradicated by bombs or in one decade.
Billions of dollars have been spent on military efforts and infrastructure building, yet Afghan women lack the most basic equal rights. Last year, President Karzai signed the "Shia Personal Status Law", requiring women to ask permission before leaving their homes.
- Afghan women still have the highest maternal mortality rate. (1 in 7)
- 82% are illiterate
- 90% are subjected to domestic abuse
- 70% of all marriages are forced with 60% of brides under 16, some as young as 6.
Women are considered the property of fathers, husbands and brothers—often abused, traded and enslaved to repay family debt and even forced to commit self-immolation – or setting themselves on fire.
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Our Mission: To demand and provide humane treatment and legal defense for Afghan women and children incarcerated for the gender-based inequality and injustice.
Our Method: Funding defense attorneys, literacy teachers and medical services for the imprisoned women and children in all 34 provinces of Afghanistan.
Our Goal: Working with the US and Afghan Justice Departments to implement change and support culturally-appropriate alternatives to incarceration for “moral crimes” such as parole and work-based vocational training programs for accused women.